Sometime in the late forties Uncle Barnett built a tobacco barn near the old road. Of course all the males in Ard family that could put on his own overalls were there if not in school. One day when nobody was around but J.W. and Uncle Barnett. Uncle Barnett removed his coveralls and showed J.W. some irritating skin malformations. J.W. told Uncle Barnett that he would see a doctor before sundown if he had those. Uncle Barnett said they could not help him (I think he was right). Shortly thereafter Uncle Barnett started going to Louisville for radium treatments. This went on for about one year. I do believe Charles took Uncle Barnett most of the time, but Ralph took him once or twice and some members of Uncle Arthur family may have took him some. I say this because it was a Ard family function when he went and all things were considered.
It must be noted that his treatment was projected to his body, but not his face because it would blind him if it got near his eyes. The last treatment, I believe was in the middle of December of 1949. To the best of my mind I think two of the insidious malformation came over his eyes, just above the eyebrow about the end of 1949. I hardly have any memory of events from the first of 1950 until my birthday, Feb. 27th, on my birthday Uncle Barnett and Aunt Roberta came to our house to investigate a mechanical building to hold barrels of gasoline. J.W. had built it without the aid of Uncle Barnett, which was very strange for them because Uncle Barnett was the one they came to for all mechanical items. That was the last time Uncle Barnett drove his automobile.
By time uncle Barnett had showed J.W. his disease until my 9th birthday the Ard family had three more members David Dale, Coman, and Patricia. I remember many hours spent the next four months at uncle Barnett’s house playing with David and Patricia. I remember the house was keep spotless. Keeping this place sanitary took lots of work. Shortly there after I remember Uncle Barnett was smoking cigarettes via a holder. I had purchased a cigarette holder in the form of a curved pipe I was going to give it to him, but mother told me it was too late. However I did show it to him. I held it close to his face for him to see, he had to remove the tears from his eyes many times before he was able to see the little pipe. The sores had begun to cover his eyes. From the middle of March to his death I was at his house almost daily. It was easy to see these skin malformations were covering his face. The pipe incident was in March and his eye were being covered, but not completely. By the first of April his eyes were covered. He lay on a lawn (beech) chair by the stove. One day I assume late April or early May Ralph dropped me off there and he was on the porch in that chair. That day his eyes had been covered several days before and his nose was being covered also. They had put hollow stems up his nose so that he could breath through his nose. He seemed to be enjoying the sun. By the first days of June the skin malformations had cover his whole face from forehead to below the chin on his neck and from ear to ear with the exception of a small hole for his mouth. At that time he was fed with a baby bottle and nipple that had been cut off.
The spring of 1950 they had started building the new road through that part of the country. KY ST HWY. 357. The spring had more rain than common. The construction was disrupted many times by the rain. This cause some problems for Uncle Barnett’s medical treatment. On or about June 19th, Aunt Roberta and my mother saw insect larva on the skin malformations on Uncle Barnett’s face. Now there were no phones in this area at that time nor were the road passable that day. Dad hooked up the mules and went as far north as it took to get in a car to take him to a phone then get a doctor in to see Uncle Barnett. I assume that was Uncle Arthur. I think the road was passable north of the Gaddie road that day. Sometime in the AM of the 20th Dr. York, from Canmer, came in to see Uncle Barnett. I do not think he told them anything but, “he could not help” I clearly remember Dr. York riding in J.W.’s road wagon pulled by team of mules (Pete & Slim). Later that day an ambulance (Horace Dixon & Lawrence Rogers) came and got Uncle Barnett to take him to the hospital in Louisville. The ambulance was pulled from the Gaddie road to Uncle Barnett’s house and back via an earth moving equipment from the road construction (the operator let me ride beside him on the way back).
The Hospital was able to kill the larva , but the conversation that I heard from Aunt Roberta, Lucille, and Charles was not a very pleasant hospital stay. I heard many thing about that hospital stay . The one I remember the most is the the exchange that Charles told about doctor that gave Uncle Barnett the treatment and Uncle Barnett. Charles, and Aunt Roberta (told my mother) thought he was rude. As the years have past I have thought his action could have been a cover for a bad performance.
Uncle Barnett came home on 23rd he was given a hospital bed. He never used his lawn chair again. I never went into the room where he laid in the hospital bed . I was in the yard and on the porch. I could see him through the door. Early in the morning of the 28th of June he died. Many of the Ard family were present, I was not. Now the rains had let up so the hearse could get in and out with no trouble. The wake was held at the house where he had died and the funeral was in the old wooden structure at Three Forks Bacon Creek Church and burial in Hammondsville Cemetery and 30 yards from the funeral place. I remember the glass over the body for viewing. I have never seen a casket like that again and I sold funeral supplies for 5 years